The politics of local authorities are driving stronger focus not only on service delivery but customer satisfaction. This political shift is a direct force for professional change, pressing individuals to work across professional distinctions. However, as it is manifested in various metrics and technologies, this political shift is having a range of indirect effects. From Government Information Systems that look across the range of local services, to new knowledge about service design that enables professionals to re-orient services around the needs of users, new practices are disrupting professional boundaries, roles and status.
This project, following on from the the recent publication of Production Values: Futures for professionalism explores the changing nature of professional roles in local authorities. It looks at challenges to those working directly with service users, and at the respnses to those challenges from Directors of Children's Services and Chief Executives.
We are looking for case studies in local authorities - drop Duncan O'Leary an email of you know if interesting examples.
Demos collection on the changing nature of (and context for) professionalism. Argues that citizen autonomy and professional autonomy must grow together.
An indicator of the professional challenges of a new way of working: 90% of responses to the the Green Paper consultation supported a Common Core of skills, knowledge and competence within the children’s workforce. Competencies include: Effective communication and engagement ('working with parents, carers and families; listening and involving children and young people') and Multi-agency working ('working across professional boundaries and understanding the values of other professions')
Finds that: - Heavy demands are made on the professionals involved in terms of their need to rethink their roles and switch to different kinds of activities and working practices. - Changes could threaten their sense of themselves as specialists when teams worked towards ‘blurring’ responsibilities to create generalist workers. In particular, specialists such as a teacher, health visitor, nurse or special needs nursery nurse, felt they had lost the particular [professional] identity
Lots of good quantitative evidence on levels of awareness of Every Child Matters. Shows 'broad but shallow' awareneness of ECM, but high levels of support.
- Name-checks the idea of 'collaborative advantage' - describes challenges of leading professionals from other backgrounds/disciplines - discusses professional and organisational socialisation
Finds that: "Joint work between social care, health and education services is still often constrained by different eligibility criteria, priorities, referral systems, statutory requirements and professional and organizational cultures"
Couple of interesting points: 1. Shared targets not enough for collaboration: 'Agencies are more likely to collaborate with other initiatives if they believe that the efforts of both organisations are contributing towards meeting not only the same targets, but that those targets are seen to be meaningful'. 2. Belief that training is able to bring professionals together: 'Training has the ability to mitigate tensions between professionals from health and social services agencies'
‘Researchers found a clear link between better outcomes for children and greater involvement of parents. Parents were involved in 53% of cases where the outcome was good, 24% in which it was considered poor.’
Good illustration of shift from inputs to outcomes: 'We have therefore defined the role by the functions and skills, rather than by particular professional or practitioner groupings...The person who takes on the role of lead professional will vary according to the specific needs of the child.'
Argues that resistance to change can be a hallmark of professionalism - due to concern over the impact of periods of instability/transition and because of uncertainty around new ways of working. Suggests approaches for leaders trying to bring about change in children's services.
Finds: - "Fears about upsetting arrangements that people think are currently working well for children, young people and families, especially those with additional and complex needs, including sorting out different thresholds" - the importance for professionals of "Clear perception of the benefits for children, young people and families"
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